What to Do If Your Dog Has Scratched or Torn Your Car's Leather Upholstery

12 May 2016
 Categories: Recreation & Sports, Articles


Unfortunately, if you travel with your pup a lot, your car's leather upholstery may get scratched. If your upholstery is riddled with scratches, scuffs, holes or serious damage, it is possible to remedy the situation. Here is what you need to do:

1. Smooth out scratches with oil.

If your dog's claws have only made superficial scratches in the leather, you can smooth them out with oil. Gently rub orange tree oil on the scratch until it blends with the surrounding leather. If you don't like the odor of that oil, unscented skin moisturisers can also work. Apply it in small quantities to avoid oversaturating the leather, and apply more as needed.

2. Use a leather repair kit to remove scuffs.

Unfortunately, if your dog repeatedly scratches the same spot or rubs against part of your upholstery, scuffs can be inevitable. Luckily, you can buy leather repair kits from furniture repair stores or other vendors, and they work wonders on deeper scratches or on scuffs.

These kits typically come with a bit of leather filler, colour and finish. You can find a range of colours, or you can get a kit with primary colours, black and white that allows you to mix the colour you need.

To repair the scuff, keep in mind that you do not want to slop on colour and filler. Rather, you want to slowly rebuild the missing leather layer by layer, and it is a process that takes a bit of time. Start by cleaning the leather with an alcohol-based cleaner. This removes debris and impurities and helps the repair agents bond to it more easily.

Then, using a very fine grit sandpaper, sand the scuff until it feels smooth to the touch. Blot on some leather filler with a sponge, and let it dry. Sand the area to remove excess filler, and then, apply colour on top of the filler. Repeat this process as needed until the scuff is gone -- Depending on the depth of your scuff or scratch, it may take only one application, or it may require several layers.

To blend your repair with the rest of your car's upholstery, you now need to apply finish. Most repair kits come with gloss or matte finish. If you have dull leather upholstery, apply the matte, and if you have shiny upholstery, apply the gloss finish. If your upholstery is satin, mix matte and gloss together and apply the combo. At this point, your repair should blend with the rest of your upholstery.

3. Patch the upholstery to keep in stuffing.

If your dog has scratched or bitten large holes in your leather, the stuffing may be falling out of the resulting hole. You can patch this with a piece of leather, available from many fabric stores and upholstery businesses. You also need very sturdy thread and an upholstery needle, which is much larger than a standard needle.

Cut the patch to size, and sew it onto your upholstery. Unfortunately, patching your upholstery in this way does not create a seamless repair, but you can cover the edges of the patch with filler and colour as explained above. That can help to make everything blend in.

4. Turn to an automotive upholstery repair professional for extensive damage.

Unfortunately, dogs can leave damage that simply isn't repairable unless you are an expert. Luckily, there are automotive upholstery repair professionals who can fix almost all kinds of damage. They can remove deep scratches, repair scuffs, patch holes and even replace all of the upholstery in your car. Want to learn more? Contact an automotive upholstery repair specialist at a company like A Grade Upholstery today.